Research Diary – 25/05/2020 – 31/05/2020

It’s all Greek to me…

Refining my MA dissertation has been an ongoing task throughout the year, some of my ideas have already been posted my blog (here, here and here). This week marked the end of my taught units with my last exam (Intensive Greek), and the start of intensive research. This research diary has two main purposes, to keep me sane by keeping track of what I have done, and to open a window in how research is conducted. These will be posted weekly and highlight what I have done with links and musing about the progress of my project. This will include things I’ve read, insights into my headspace and mindset and the bare bones of the process.

Events and Milestones

25/05/2020: I need to pay more attention to the universities VLE, didn’t realise I got some marks back for my presentation response (what became my dams and drainage post). Fairly happy with the results and over all my grades are passing. I had some slips with mental health and financial instability, so my grades are a bit messy (35 for Greek 1 and 72 for Introduction to Egypt), but feeling hopeful about my last set of essays and my dissertation will power up my grades…hopefully.

28/05/2020: Started the open book Intensive Greek 2 Exam – Because of the pandemic what would have been a 2 hour closed book exam has morphed into a week long open book exam, which I think preferable anyway, I understand how important it is to learn the basics of grammar and build up your vocab, but no-one is translating from memory! This way seems much more natural.

– Finished the Grammar section of the exam and I have glanced through the translation sections, looks to be simple enough, will take the rest of the day off from Greek.

– Finally finished the exam, I’m going to take the rest of the week off, enjoy my birthday and then get back into the swing of my dissertation

Works Read

As well as keeping track of all the academic works I’ve read for my dissertation, I want this section to include all the other books and articles I’ve been reading, with links if possible.

Within the last two weeks I’ve read both Inferior and Superior by Angela Saini, the part that archaeology had to play in the beginnings of racist thought was particularly hard hitting. This week I started Black Tudors by Miranda Kaufmann, really enjoying the narrative and the immense detail she provides for this part of British history which is sadly neglected; it is very humbling to look into these peoples lives and think about the world in which they lived and how it has changed.

I dived deep into the Palynology aspect of my dissertation, reading lots about Paleoethnobotany (my word of the week), the best one I read was Method and Theory in Paleoethnobotany edited by John M. Marston, Jade d’Alpoim Guedes, and Christina Warinner (link, paywall/institutional login), which was very extensive and accessible for a beginner like me!


The vinegar I started making is going well, used some leftover beer that we had ordered in from one of the local breweries, quite excited for it to be done. Spring is definitely turning into summer, all these elder-flowers are beautiful, I’m going to try and replicate the cordial I made last year, will be very refreshing in this incredibly warm weather. I think some strawberry vodka is going to be called for as well!


  • Learning the scientific names of plants (from my research into pollen analyse) has been productive, there is always something calming about looking and learning about plants, even as pictures on a screen.

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